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European standards boosting the development of Algae industry

In 2021, several standards and technical reports were published by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to address the emerging needs of a wide range of sectors and specific applications such as #food and #feed, #chemical, #cosmetics, #pharmaceutical, #energy or #biobased products.

Image – algae research in a biotechnology laboratory

Algae is opening a new world of sustainable opportunities to a wide range of sectors and applications. The market for algae products is estimated to grow at a growth rate close to 5% in the next 3 years on a global scale. Some reasons for this is an increased demand for natural products and ensuring sustainable development of cosmetic, pharma or energy applications, which requires defining quality, safety criteria and associated assessment methods.

The European Committee on Standardization (CEN) has published during 2021 a series of interesting standards, reports and other standardization deliverables to boost the algae industry.

Image – Algae opens a new world of possibilities to a wide range of sectors

Standardized applications of algae include:

  • producers of food based on algae
  • feed or nutraceuticals or animal food producers and industry
  • cosmetic sector
  • pharmaceutical applications
  • chemical sector
  • bioenergy

Moreover, two European standards provide essential tools for this emerging industry, such as:

  • EN 17477:2021, which specifies a method for the detection and identification of microalgae, macroalgae, cyanobacteria and Labyrinthulomycetes by using morphological methods and/or molecular methods
  • EN 17480:2021 – Algae and algae products – Methods for the determination of productivity of algae growth sites – helps determining the productivity of sites to artificially grow alagae

The results of the work of the Technical Committee CEN/TC 454 Algae and algae products can also be easily followed up via our website genorma.com, following the link: https://genorma.com/en/project/search-by-committee/cen-tc-454

CEN/TC 454 ‘Algae and algae products’ was created in 2017 and started to deliver the first documents a few years later. This European technical committee develops standards containing specifications, classification, terminology and determination methods for algae and algae-based products. Part of the standardization work is financed by the European Commission and the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) and supports the application of the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC), which establishes an overall policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources in the EU.

Indeed, part of the standardization work is linked with the Standardization Request M/547 ‘COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION C(2016)1582 of 23.3.2016 on a standardisation request to the European Committee for Standardisation as regards algae and algae-based products or intermediates in support of the implementation of Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the regions of 13 February 2012 on “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe”

Standardisation Request / Mandate M/547 supports in achieving the ambitious targets of the Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality Directives, as well as the objectives of the Strategy for “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe” of 13 February 2012, it is necessary to maximise the production and use of algae and algae-based products or intermediates since these can be used in numerous application such as biofuel production and in other markets such as energy, bio-based materials and chemicals.

Being aware of the low exploitation of algae and their products in the EU, their desired accelerated deployment necessitates the development and adoption of standards in order to ensure the high quality of fuels used in the EU market. In addition, taking into account that algae do not need fertile or cultivation land to grow their productions has no effect on food and land use. Therefore European Standards are needed to facilitate the market penetration of algae and algae-based products or intermediates.